UPDATED FEBRUARY 2, 2013: NHL SEASON UNDERWAY – WATCH LIVE HOCKEY GAMES ONLINE
Out with the Lockout, and in with the abbreviated 2013 NHL season! The NHL Lockout is over, and your favorite hockey team is off to the races in a shortened sprint to the Stanley Cup. With just 48 games over 99 days, this season’s pace will be breakneck, the schedule demanding, and the live NHL hockey games will be streamed online – some of them will even be free.
The free live NHL hockey games available online are the Sunday afternoon games on NBC NHL Extra, which streams the marquee Sunday afternoon game on the NBC network free of charge. The free NHL hockey streams begin at 12:30 p.m. EST/EDT most Sundays, with a double-header on Sunday, February 17th, and unknown start times in late April with the “flex scheduling” rule that picks the game with the biggest playoff implications.
If one game a week isn’t enough for your hockey fever, try NHL GameCenter Live – the NHL’s official paid subscription service for streaming live NHL hockey games and watching them later on demand. NHL GameCenter Live is operating on a reduced price this shortened season, as a one-time payment of $49.99, or two payments of $24.99, and it even works on your smartphone or tablet. Just be aware you’ll be frozen off the home ice – games played in your home market will not be available until 48 hours after they have completed, as is the case with any games being broadcast nationally. However, you will be able to listen to a radio broadcast of the hockey games.
NHL hockey may not be back anytime soon, but locked-out fans can still watch hockey online. The pucks (and fists) are still flying in the European leagues and the NHL minor leagues. Fans can tune-in to these leagues’ game webcasts and watch hockey live. As long as the NHL lockout continues to freeze the puck, you can still stream hockey online to avoid being locked out from any action on the ice this winter.
This season’s NHL lockout is already going into December and maybe even longer, with the official cancellation of all games until December plus the January 1 Winter Classic. professional hockey showcase. However, there are still plenty of hockey games being played around the world. We’ve rounded-up a list of NHL alternatives where hockey-hungry fans can stream live hockey games of other leagues’ matches on the Internet, tablets, and smartphones.
WATCH NHL PLAYERS HIT THE ICE IN THE KHL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Plenty of NHL players have skated off overseas, with more than 120 current NHL players now playing in European leagues. Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is the most highly regarded of the European hockey leagues, and you could field an All-Star team with the NHL players currently playing for the KHL teams. Online fans can watch KHL games – with game calls in English – by watching ESPN online,
ESPN is broadcasting KHL Russian hockey games this season during the NHL Lockout, and these games are also being streamed on WatchESPN. You will need a cable TV subscription in order to watch the games online. If you want to watch the International hockey games on a smartphone or tablet, the free WatchESPN app provides the same broadcast optimized for mobile, but you will need an existing cable TV subscription. There are several weeks’ worth of KHL games on demand in the WatchESPN archives.
WATCH AHL ONLINE FOR LIVE HOCKEY GAMES
There are still plenty of live hockey games to watch in the United States. That’s right the NHL strike has not affected the American Hockey League (AHL) – the NHL’s minor leagues. While there are no live NHL hockey games and the players are locked out, their minor league counterparts are still sticking to it in the AHL. In fact, a high percentage of first-round NHL draft picks are designated to the AHL this year because of the lockout, including last season’s NHL Rookie of the Year, Jeff Skinner.
The AHL Live streaming video package lets you watch minor league hockey online, with every AHL game available live or on demand once the game is completed. AHL live is a subscription-based service, and all-access pass for the full season costs $400. Looking for something more affordable? AHL Live sells single games for $6.99, as well as five-pack ($6.49 a game) and ten-pack game ($5.99 a game) deals for online viewers.
The AHL Live online video broadcast is a little less polished than NBCSports.com’s free NHL webcasts last season or the free Sunday Night Football webcasts available this season. AHL Live has only one camera covering the whole rink, so there aren’t any camera angle choices. You still get game announcers calling the action, but you won’t see any instant replays or player close-ups. You will, however, see most of the top pick players from the 2011 and the 2012 NHL Draft classes playing for their teams’ AHL affiliates, with live games available nearly every night until the AHL season ends in April 2013.
Speaking of April 2013, according to the Globe and Mail the young NHL players who were designated to the AHL were recently told to secure reliable housing arrangements until that time. This could be seen as an indication that NHL owners don’t plan on calling up these designated players for NHL games any time soon.
Will we lose the whole NHL season to the lockout this year? If so, is Russian hockey worth a shot? Can live NBA basketball fill your empty net this winter? Is anyone out there growing a Lockout Beard? Face off with your opinions in the comments section below.